Tier 2 & 3 Rugby Forum

Union-led poaching

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Sables4EVA » Tue, 13 May 2014, 04:44

Couldn't have said it better myself 4N.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby YamahaKiwi » Tue, 13 May 2014, 09:33

+1 here too.

Ormond lad. Disingenious comment to make about players able to play for their country of birth. You know all too well that the NZRFU have a policy of not selecting playing overseas, so phrasing it more correctly than what you said, the IRFU doesn't need to care about players playing for their country of their birth while playing in Ireland as there's no way it will happen.

If Bundee Aki was brought up in Ireland, or had lived there for 5+ years for example I wouldn't have a problem, but the guy is Samoan ethnically for goodness sake. He has no connection with Ireland whatsoever. If he wants to go up north and play club rugby all well and good, but it'd make much more sense if he was to play international rugby, that he play it with Samoa, not Ireland. The difference between Ireland, and say France and England, is that while he could be selected for them on residency like Ireland, he's also free to make himself available for Samoa. Not so if he plays in Ireland. He's got to be Irish-eligible. It's like Callum Black, the US-eligible prop for Ulster. He won't commit for USA because he knows he would likely lose his pro contract in Ireland.

For the life of me I just don't why aki didn't take a contract with an English or French club and make himself available for Samoa if he wanted to play international rugby. It's a question I'd love to ask Aki. I'm sure Samoa would've loved to have him. How must the Samoa RFU be feeling right now, that a guy if he leaves NZ rugby would prefer to play for another country instead of them??? I'm sure they can understand NZ-born guys chasing the AB dream, but Ireland??!!

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby dropkick » Tue, 13 May 2014, 11:10

I'm not here to defend the IRFU. This project player thing is embarrassing for Irish rugby fans and most fans don't want to see non Irish play for Ireland.

However I think the IRFU are getting a disporportionate amount of criticism and false accusations. For starters they only demanded 1 project player per province (3 big provinces only). This was a few years ago when Ireland were going bad. Secondly, the reason it happened was because everyone else is doing it all the time. That doesn't make it right in my opinion but its a reason all the same. Thirdly, they're trying to block the provinces signing foreign players and have just hired David Nucifora to create a more fluid transfer system between the provinces so they don't have to look abroad.

I'd love to see the Junior ABs back in action.

On a side note, the vast majority of players who qualify will not play for Ireland. I don't think Bundee Aki will and he isn't being forced to, no mention of Bleyendaal being a project player. The only other who might play for Ireland are 29 year old Payne and CJ Stander.


Lots of Irish players are declaring for other countries like the USA, Australia and Canada.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby sk 88 » Tue, 13 May 2014, 12:23

dropkick wrote:
sk 88 wrote:
NedRugby wrote:
Sables4EVA wrote:I agree that there are a lot of countries that use "project" players but none are as blatant and obvious about "actively recruiting" as the IRFU are!


To be sure Scotland (for example) are as bad or worse. It looks like some people react to IRFU like a bull to a red cloth. Other clubs do the same thing without getting the same reaction. Here we have a province recruiting a player from abroad. Would it be ok if it was a club instead of a province?


A club often prefers the players to not play international rugby!

The clubs are completely independent and sign players for their own means. Sometimes the national unions piggy back on this to cap a good player.

The IRFU deliberately set out to sing these players, qualify them then cap them.

That is the difference between finding a €10 on the floor and keeping it to stealing a €10 note from someones pocket.



The provinces sign players independently. In fact theres always complaints from the provinces that the IRFU stop them signing foreign players. So in effect they're just like clubs. For instance I don't think the IRFU are too happy with Jimmy Gopperth keeping Madigan out of the Leinster team.


Any tier 1 country out there who has capped less players on residency grounds than Ireland? Ireland has 2 up to this point. Strauss currently with 2 caps and Andy Ward in the 90s.


These two sentences don't really fit together.

But if your sure I'll reconsider my opinion. I have been told in the past that the IRFU provinces are one and the same with the governing body.

On a side note, if the IRFU has stopped them signing foreign players presumable not those that have European working rights? Otherwise that would be illegal wouldn't it?

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby sk 88 » Tue, 13 May 2014, 12:26

YamahaKiwi wrote:+1 here too.

Ormond lad. Disingenious comment to make about players able to play for their country of birth. You know all too well that the NZRFU have a policy of not selecting playing overseas, so phrasing it more correctly than what you said, the IRFU doesn't need to care about players playing for their country of their birth while playing in Ireland as there's no way it will happen.

If Bundee Aki was brought up in Ireland, or had lived there for 5+ years for example I wouldn't have a problem, but the guy is Samoan ethnically for goodness sake. He has no connection with Ireland whatsoever. If he wants to go up north and play club rugby all well and good, but it'd make much more sense if he was to play international rugby, that he play it with Samoa, not Ireland. The difference between Ireland, and say France and England, is that while he could be selected for them on residency like Ireland, he's also free to make himself available for Samoa. Not so if he plays in Ireland. He's got to be Irish-eligible. It's like Callum Black, the US-eligible prop for Ulster. He won't commit for USA because he knows he would likely lose his pro contract in Ireland.

For the life of me I just don't why aki didn't take a contract with an English or French club and make himself available for Samoa if he wanted to play international rugby. It's a question I'd love to Aki. I'm sure Samoa would've loved to have him. How must the Samoa RFU be feeling right now, that a guy if he leaves NZ rugby would prefer to play for another country instead of them??? I'm sure they can understand NZ-born guys chasing the AB dream, but Ireland??!!


TBF he is actually Irish and that is pure speculation, I've never seen a quote from either him, Ulster or US rugby about that.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby dragos03 » Tue, 13 May 2014, 16:10

There are three levels of poaching in my opinion:
- the case when a club transfers a foreign player (without planning a poach for the national team) who does well and stays for 3 years or more. The Union then asks him to play for the national team. In my opinion, this is the most acceptable situation, especially if the player gets well-integrated with his adoptive country (such as getting married with a local woman, planning to relocate there for good, etc.). For example, the French did not plan to poach Kockott but they will probably cap him because the player wants it and he is too good to ignore.
- the case when the union looks for ancestry-qualified players abroad, even if some of them no longer have any connection with the country. Sometimes a club transfer is also included in the deal.
- the case when the union looks for quality players without any connection to the country, with poaching in mind. They are offered a club contract and a place in the national team after three years of residency. In my opinion, this is by far the worst case of the three, a cynical exploit of the current IRB rules. This is what Ireland is doing with Bundee Aki and the others.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby ormond lad » Tue, 13 May 2014, 21:50

4N wrote:Lads I appreciate that you are defending your union, but let's be honest - the provinces are not like clubs and players like Payne, Heenan, Van den Heever, Aki and in all likelihood Bleyendaal (former U20 SH internationals all), have been identified by IRFU scouts as uncapped first class players capable of playing international rugby for Ireland. Few other countries are doing this, and certainly not on the same scale. There are exceptions certainly, as I said on another thread I am unhappy with England courting Fijian Nathan Hughes when he has only been in the country for one season. However that's one potential player versus about ten and counting for Ireland.

There's also a persistent rumour that Ulster are pursuing Chiefs fullback Robbie Robinson with a view to naturalising him - made all the more ridiculous by the fact that he's eligible for Scotland on ancestry and could play for them immediately. Instead Ireland propose he miss out on three potential 6N campaigns so he can play for a country he has little or no ties to.

This isn't like when Munster signed capped Doug Howlett or Rua Tipoki at the end of his career, it's altogether more cynical. They're taking promising uncapped young players from other unions. I'm very uncomfortable with the path the IRFU are steering international rugby down. These aren't meant to be Barbarians-style teams like Toulon, they're meant to be the best of the nation's talent they've developed, especially if you're an established Tier 1 union as Ireland undoubtedly are.

If all that's not enough, they're the only NH country without any Tier 2 players contracted to their clubs/provinces. It's an exceptionally greedy system they operate.
The IRFU operates a system where the national team is the main focus but that doesn't mean they recruit project players to play for Ireland. They recruit them to play for the provinces and if those players desire to at the end of the 3 year period the players can go and play for Ireland. IRFU are not steering international rugby down any path and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.
The anti irish crap on this forum(and on the fira forum) is so ridiculous. All those players were identified to play for their provinces and if they desire they may play for Ireland down the line.
The players who have moved have chosen to play for the provinces. No tricks from IRFU and certainly isn't cynical. They are not taking promising young players from other unions who can still call those players up at any time.
Yes we don't have many tier 2 players contracted to our provinces but we have so few players contracted who are not eligible to play for Ireland we will choose the best available and they generally are tier 1 players.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby 4N » Fri, 23 May 2014, 13:39

So brazen it's hard to believe...

Contrary to reports in this morning’s media, Ulster Rugby would like to clarify that at no point were there any discussions with John Afoa or his representatives about extending his contract to allow him to remain with the Province. Due to his personal circumstances, it was understood that he would be seeking a return to New Zealand to be with his family.

While a world class player when fit and available, Ulster Rugby’s intention has always been to replace Afoa with a top-class tighthead prop who could ultimately play for Ireland. That has been achieved through the signing of project-player Wiehahn Herbst.

In December it was announced that he had signed a contract with Gloucester and Ulster Rugby would like to wish him well in the next chapter of his career.


http://www.ulsterrugby.com/News/LatestN ... tion-.aspx

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Scoob » Sat, 24 May 2014, 00:16

Sorry but this is just a joke now. By offering players x amount of dollars to play for a club is one thing,but offering them more dollars to commit to the national team is rediculous. That young african prop has no loyalty to Ireland what so ever. Problem is these players have managers and they want top dollars for there player and that means negotiating more dollars to play for national team in 3 years time. And then we here some dribble from the players mouth that it would be an honour to play for Ireland.
I dont blame Ireland i blame the irb for crazy elegibity rules.
Whats stopping say Kazahkstan{just a random country} recruiting 50 odd players from junior world cup happening shortly offering them some large bank notes to play club rugby in Kazahkstan and then play for them at 2019 world cup and perhaps winning it for Kazahkstan.
The irb will be changing the rules in 5seconds if that happened.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby ormond lad » Sat, 24 May 2014, 00:21

Scoob wrote:Sorry but this is just a joke now. By offering players x amount of dollars to play for a club is one thing,but offering them more dollars to commit to the national team is rediculous. That young african prop has no loyalty to Ireland what so ever. Problem is these players have managers and they want top dollars for there player and that means negotiating more dollars to play for national team in 3 years time. And then we here some dribble from the players mouth that it would be an honour to play for Ireland.
I dont blame Ireland i blame the irb for crazy elegibity rules.
Whats stopping say Kazahkstan{just a random country} recruiting 50 odd players from junior world cup happening shortly offering them some large bank notes to play club rugby in Kazahkstan and then play for them at 2019 world cup and perhaps winning it for Kazahkstan.
The irb will be changing the rules in 5seconds if that happened.
This isn't a joke. IRFU policy wants national team success over provincial success and limits the number of non Irish players capable of playing for provinces. Some can be "project players" who after the 3 years qualify. All countries do this. Money isn't a sole factor in most players moving. How can you say whether any of these players have no loyalty to Ireland(why is it always the Irish you get attacked/blame??) or Scotland or England or any other country.
What changes would you make to eligibility rules if you have such a issue with existing regulations?

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Coloradoan » Sat, 24 May 2014, 00:37

7 years to qualify on residence + must have passport would be my favored change. 3 years is absurd.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Beeman » Sat, 24 May 2014, 00:49

ormond lad wrote:This isn't a joke. IRFU policy wants national team success over provincial success and limits the number of non Irish players capable of playing for provinces. Some can be "project players" who after the 3 years qualify. All countries do this. Money isn't a sole factor in most players moving. How can you say whether any of these players have no loyalty to Ireland(why is it always the Irish you get attacked/blame??) or Scotland or England or any other country.
What changes would you make to eligibility rules if you have such a issue with existing regulations?

Oh do tell then. Who is the project player in the Argentina squad? Or France's, Russia's, Georgia's, South Africa's, Samoa's, Canada's, England's etc ...

Well done on finally admitting project players cynically signed by Unions exist by the way. :thumbup:

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Scoob » Sat, 24 May 2014, 03:01

quote money isnt a sole factor in players moving. Of cause it is,its the only factor.NZL players certainly dont move to Japan to better there rugby skills.Clubs and unions are run like a business. Take the all blacks playing in USA. Steve Tew and the players all come out in statements saying something about great opportunity to play in the USA and develop the game--blah blah.Get with it,its all about making a dollar and keeping U.S sponsor AIG happy. Which is why the all blacks have never played in Samoa. The same with Ireland rugby union,these are project players and up to them if they want to play for Ireland they say,yet behind the scenes deals and negotiations involving $$$ occur away from the media glare.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Beeman » Sat, 24 May 2014, 03:43

This whole cynical project player thing the IRFU and SRU have going on is rather distasteful. Draws pretty negative views from their fans themselves normally. It's one of the few gerrymandering antics that have been going in Europe with Union owned teams. They also go out and target players with tenuous links as well like Sean Maitland.

New Zealand must getting pretty pissed off. They are paying for the facilities, development, and training of players and losing them to competitors at a prime age of 24 or 25. A simple rule change would benefit them the more than anybody, and I'm stunned they haven't made their brought back the Junior All Blacks or made the U20's their second team to lock eligibility.

Gosper is quoted as saying "there's small we can do about it from an IRB viewpoint". Which I find strange, many other sports follow different rules and I'd have thought there would be enough support for an altered proposal.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby sk 88 » Sat, 24 May 2014, 09:08

Coloradoan wrote:7 years to qualify on residence + must have passport would be my favored change. 3 years is absurd.


I think getting passports for some countries is significantly harder than others. For instance I don't think you can become Swiss very easily at all.

Agree it needs to be longer. It wouldn't stop Sivivatu, or Tuilagi or the new Tonga bloke but it would limit the professional naturalisation.

I've always wondered about needing more than 1 Grandparent to qualify on residency. 1/4 grandparents is a pretty weak link.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby YamahaKiwi » Sat, 24 May 2014, 12:03

Beeman wrote:This whole cynical project player thing the IRFU and SRU have going on is rather distasteful. Draws pretty negative views from their fans themselves normally. It's one of the few gerrymandering antics that have been going in Europe with Union owned teams. They also go out and target players with tenuous links as well like Sean Maitland.

New Zealand must getting pretty pissed off. They are paying for the facilities, development, and training of players and losing them to competitors at a prime age of 24 or 25. A simple rule change would benefit them the more than anybody, and I'm stunned they haven't made their brought back the Junior All Blacks or made the U20's their second team to lock eligibility.

Gosper is quoted as saying "there's small we can do about it from an IRB viewpoint". Which I find strange, many other sports follow different rules and I'd have thought there would be enough support for an altered proposal.


Along this line it's about time countries started asking for transfer fees since time and money has been put into these players. At the very least the NRB should've got a transfer fee from the SRU IMO to pay back some of that development "cost" in the case of Tim Visser for example.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby ormond lad » Sat, 24 May 2014, 17:26

Coloradoan wrote:7 years to qualify on residence + must have passport would be my favored change. 3 years is absurd.
7 years is too long and you wouldn't get it passed by any country or players to have passport. 5 years would be fair.
Beeman wrote:Oh do tell then. Who is the project player in the Argentina squad? Or France's, Russia's, Georgia's, South Africa's, Samoa's, Canada's, England's etc ...

Well done on finally admitting project players cynically signed by Unions exist by the way. :thumbup:
Don't know off top of my head but there has been several with all countries. Its not just the irish.

[EDIT] Offensive comment removed as poster wouldn't remove it themselves.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby ormond lad » Sat, 24 May 2014, 17:33

Beeman wrote:This whole cynical project player thing the IRFU and SRU have going on is rather distasteful. Draws pretty negative views from their fans themselves normally. It's one of the few gerrymandering antics that have been going in Europe with Union owned teams. They also go out and target players with tenuous links as well like Sean Maitland.

New Zealand must getting pretty pissed off. They are paying for the facilities, development, and training of players and losing them to competitors at a prime age of 24 or 25. A simple rule change would benefit them the more than anybody, and I'm stunned they haven't made their brought back the Junior All Blacks or made the U20's their second team to lock eligibility.

Gosper is quoted as saying "there's small we can do about it from an IRB viewpoint". Which I find strange, many other sports follow different rules and I'd have thought there would be enough support for an altered proposal.
This isn't a cynical project and certainly isn't distasteful. Links with Maitland weren't tenuous at all. Grandparent rule... plenty of islands have benefited from it as well as all countries.
NZ wouldn't care. They still have their best players.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Beeman » Sat, 24 May 2014, 19:12

ormond lad wrote:Don't know off top of my head but there has been several with all countries. Its not just the irish but then again you have a bigoted hatred of all things irish....

That's a nice dodge, attacking me rather than backing up your arguments with anything.

I will give you another opportunity though. Who have the UAR, FFR, RFU, SARU, Georgia, Canada etc brought in as "project players"?

Good luck.

ormond lad wrote:This isn't a cynical project and certainly isn't distasteful. Links with Maitland weren't tenuous at all. Grandparent rule... plenty of islands have benefited from it as well as all countries.
NZ wouldn't care. They still have their best players.

Hmmm .... perhaps you ought to find a dictionary and look up cynical then, this fits the bill as a wholly cynical manipulation of the eligibility laws.

New Zealand don't care about competitors poaching their investments who they paid to train and develop? Yet again you couldn't be more wrong. Steve Hansen's comments on Bundee Aki certainly weren't of a man who didn't care, in fact he seemed quite rightly pissed off. Yet again showing yourself to be awfully lacking in knowledge.

YamahaKiwi wrote:Along this line it's about time countries started asking for transfer fees since time and money has been put into these players. At the very least the NRB should've got a transfer fee from the SRU IMO to pay back some of that development "cost" in the case of Tim Visser for example.
[/quote]
Agree 100%.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby HMFCalltheway » Sat, 24 May 2014, 20:24

Can I just reiterate the fact that Visser certainly was not a project player and we did not set out with the intention of stealing him for our national side. Visser had just been released by Newcastle when Edinburgh signed him and it was only in the year after he joined that he really began to shine. It was Edinburgh that gave him his chance to develop as a top level player.

Also what other sport does transfer fees for sportspersons that decide to represent a country other than their birthplace? How on earth would that work.

Arguably Visser developed more in England as well as he went to boarding school there.

Nel and Strauss are embarassing examples of project players.


-----------------------------------------------------

Also I think I've floated this idea before but why not have two different tiers of eligibility for higher tiered and lower tiered nations. Because realistically many smaller rugby nations would not be able to compete , with real real detriment to their national game if the eligibility rules were made more stringent. So why not raise the requirement to five years for residency for those nations that wish to play test rugby with the IRB making extra organisational resources available to those that feel they have adequate depth to compete at test level.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Beeman » Sat, 24 May 2014, 20:56

HMFCalltheway wrote:Also I think I've floated this idea before but why not have two different tiers of eligibility for higher tiered and lower tiered nations. Because realistically many smaller rugby nations would not be able to compete , with real real detriment to their national game if the eligibility rules were made more stringent. So why not raise the requirement to five years for residency for those nations that wish to play test rugby with the IRB making extra organisational resources available to those that feel they have adequate depth to compete at test level.

Meh. Merely a simple change to up the residency qualification to 7 years for example would benefit all of Georgia, Romania, Russia, Canada, USA, Namibia, Uruguay and the Pacific Islanders as competition such as Scotland wouldn't be able to cynically use the system to gain an advantage over them. So that's pretty much every Tier 2 nation a the World Cup who would benefit. Even Japan would probably be okay if it were to change considering the actually really valuable foreigners they have at the minute like Leitch and Sa'u have been there for ages anyway. They could live without Craig Wing and Hayden Hopgood.

Only small nations it might detriment are possibly a few of those joke expat XV's from low down the rankings, which I wouldn't shed too many tears about. They have no chance of competing at a top tier level anyway.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby YamahaKiwi » Sat, 24 May 2014, 22:28

Ormond Lad

I'm not quite sure how an Irishman can speak for NZ when you say NZ doesn't care. As a NZer, I can say we definitely do which is why after a few other guys going to Ireland with the direct intention of playing for Ireland (Michael Best and Jared Payne to mention two), Bundee Aki's move has raised the ire in NZ. NZ has been slow to anger but now it's starting to get beyond a joke and yes, we are getting angry. It's diluting our depth and that is a valid issue for NZ which sees its depth as one of its key advantages over other countries in keeping NZ rugby and the ABs strong. As Beeman pointed out Steve Hansen himself went public with his displeasure. I know I shouldn't wish bad on a player but quite frankly I was happy to see Aki have a forgettable game v the Hurricanes last night, and such is the cynicalness of his move I hope he has a forgettable time in Ireland...maybe then he can see sense and make himself available for Samoa who for at least he has links to, and earn back a bit of respect amongst both NZ rugby fans, and I suspect Samoan ones too. It'd be very interesting to see how the Samoan community in NZ views his move. Again I suspect not greatly.

Ormond lad. Be careful please. Beeman has criticised the IRFU and the way Irish top level rugby works. I haven't seen him attack Ireland and it's people, culture etc per se so as a mod on this site I'll politely ask you to edit that part of your post or I will.

All posters keep it civil please.

HMF, I didn't mention Tim Visser as a project player and I don't regard him as such as he wasn't deliberately brought to Scotland like Aki has been to Ireland. However the Netherlands is where he started his rugby and where I'm sure local coaches etc over the years put time and effort into helping him. Therefore I think there is a valid point that something is given back to the NRB. And certainly if Ireland, and others, are going to engage in poaching the likes of Bundee Aki, I'm sure the NZRFU would at least like to get something in return.

I agree about the different eligibility for tier 2-3 unions. I've held that view for a long time. There's so many challenges those unions face compared to tier 1 unions that I think this is one area the sport can give them a leg-up in to help.

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby Beeman » Sat, 24 May 2014, 22:56

YamahaKiwi wrote:I know I shouldn't wish bad on a player but quite frankly I was happy to see Aki have a forgettable game v the Hurricanes last night, and such is the cynicalness of his move I hope he has a forgettable time in Ireland...maybe then he can see sense and make himself available for Samoa who for at least he has links to, and earn back a bit of respect amongst both NZ rugby fans, and I suspect Samoan ones too. It'd be very interesting to see how the Samoan community in NZ views his move. Again I suspect not greatly.

I doubt Samoa will be too welcoming. Read his quotes here (http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/supe ... e-quits-NZ). He talks about Samoa as an afterthought to Ireland, can't speak for Samoans, but I doubt they will be happy at that.

Also there's no chance of him playing for Samoa whilst in Ireland in order to keep himself Irish qualified or future Irish qualified. He'd have to do badly enough for him to be released to leave, and would Samoa want a reject?

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby AUCKLANDREUNION » Sun, 25 May 2014, 08:04

Ormand Lad;

Ask yourself this question: Why is that so many of these New Zealanders (and probably others) who havent played test rugby, come out with an announcement at the point of signing a contract with either Ulster, Connacht, Leinster, or Munster and say how in three years time they would love to represent Ireland and play in the green jersey?

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Re: Union-led poaching

Postby NedRugby » Sun, 25 May 2014, 08:21

YamahaKiwi wrote:Along this line it's about time countries started asking for transfer fees since time and money has been put into these players. At the very least the NRB should've got a transfer fee from the SRU IMO to pay back some of that development "cost" in the case of Tim Visser for example.


I don't like players being poached but I think talking about financial matters is not relevant. NRB probably put hardly any money into Visser who went to Newcastle as a youth. The main problem from NRBs viewpoint is that it is a quality player is lost from playing for the Netherlands. From Visser's viewpoint he always wanted to play rugby at a higher level than for Holland, and I think he originally wanted the chance to play for England but wasnt good enough (I think).

On the other hand when you get goodish players from strong countries like NZ or SA for example, but not good enough to play for the ABs or Boks but good enough to play for someone like Scotland then I think it is quite cynical, but at least the All Blacks or South Africa arent losing out because they were never going to play for them anyway. I hope this makes sense even if you disagree.

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